The Pope’s Vigil Outside Krakow

There were reports of a huge crowd attending the Pope’s vigil on July 30, 2016 outside Krakow, Poland.  An article in The Guardian mentioned “As many as 1.6 million people gathered for the vigil”.  The vigil took place at the Campus Misericordiae on the Field of Mercy near the town of Brzegi.  How are attendance figures like this calculated?  I don’t know.  I do know that we can study photographs of the event, an aerial view of it’s location and confirm for ourselves whether or not reports like this make sense.  We can perform our studies with the iPhone application CrowdSize, not only for this event but for any event like it anywhere in the world.
 
Below are screen captures from reports on the event and two calculations performed by CrowdSize.  Figure 1 is an aerial photograph of the site with a diagram showing the location of the altar for the service superimposed on it.  Figure 2 is a diagram of the site showing areas where the crowd could assemble.  Figure 3 is one of the pictures of the crowd assembled in front of the alter.  The altar is shown as a white dot in all of the aerial images of the site.
.
Campus Misericordiae
.
Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 2.42.54 PM
.
Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 7.28.16 AM
.
The following images show two studies performed by CrowdSize.  Figure 4 shows how many people could occupy the site if every area shown in Figure 2 were occupied by a crowd of medium density normally associated with the campers shown in Figure 3.  It is possible that 1.5 million people could occupy this area if the site were fully occupied.  Figure 5 shows the size of crowd 1.6 million people strong if there was a very dense concentration of people standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the altar.  This crowd would have had to occupy an area of .20 square miles or .54 square kilometers.  The photographs I’ve seen of the event do not show that either of these two scenarios took place.
.
CM Site Study 1
.
CM Site Study 2
.
CrowdSize gives us the ability to challenge attendance reports for outdoor events provided by the media, promoters or “official sources” and decide for ourselves the degree of support for the causes that are important us.  Attendance figures at large outdoor events should be as realistic as possible and not be exaggerated or discounted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *